Rory McIlroy believes LIV Golf’s Brooks Koepka deserves to play for the USA in September’s Ryder Cup but insists none of the Europeans on the Saudi backed tour should play for Luke Donald’s side in Rome.
Koepka shot up to second in the US Ryder Cup standings after lifting his fifth major championship at the PGA Championship earlier this month in what was just his second OWGR event having finished joint runner-up at the Masters in April.
LIV involvement at this year’s Ryder Cup in Marco Simone has been the hot topic of discussion ahead of this week’s Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village with Jon Rahm pleading the case of his compatriot Sergio Garcia for a place on the European team. McIlroy vouched for Koepka while dismissing any cause for European LIV players to be involved stating that too much has happened around suspensions and fines with the DP World Tour.
“I certainly think Brooks deserves to be on the United States team,” admitted McIlroy. “I think with how he’s played, I mean, he’s second in the U.S. standings, only played two counting events. I don’t know if there’s anyone else on the, you know, on the LIV roster that would make the team on merit and how they’re playing. But Brooks is definitely a guy that I think deserves to be on the U.S. team.
“But I have different feelings about the European team and the other side and sort of how that has all transpired and, yeah, I don’t think any of those guys should be a part of the European team.”
LIV members who resigned from the DP World Tour are ineligible to compete for Team Europe in the biennial contest, meaning the likes of Garcia, Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood – who all featured in the 2021 contest at Whistling Straits – will be unable to feature.
Poulter took to Twitter to echo the sentiments of Rahm in another pledge of support for Garcia, the competition’s record points scorer with both players suggesting politics have dampened the event.
Seven of the world’s top-10 are in action this week and tournament host Jack Nicklaus was asked about the players who are not playing, specifically Koepka.
“I don’t even consider those guys part of the game anymore,” he said. “I don’t mean that in a nasty way. This is a PGA Tour event and we have the best field we can possibly have for a PGA Tour event for those who are eligible to be here.
“The other guys made a choice of what they did and where they’ve gone and we don’t even talk about it.”